Short Story Progress part 2

I had free time over the weekend. I should have been writing but the words just didn’t come. This happens to me when I finish things. I finished the other short story – alien prison planet. It’s so different from this short story, I think that’s why I’m hung up.

I made some progress today. I made myself do a schedule tonight. I have client work to get done. I spent an hour on that. I putzed around on social media for too long but still got stuff done. I answered emails.

Then I returned to my holiday romance. I finished writing a scene where I ran out of steam. I was thinking about how my couple could get closer… an idea just popped into my head. I’ll have to see how it pans out tomorrow because I’m trying to be responsible and it’s already midnight here.

I’m up to about 4500 words. I’m starting Chapter 3. And I just got an idea which has driven my words up to 5500. I like the scene. I might need to smooth it out a bit. Now – time for bed so I can do my day job.

Short Story Progress

By September 1st, I need to finish a holiday romance short story which is between 3,000 and 15,000 words. I started it two weeks ago. Up until today, I had 717 words written. I’ve got the premise and my two lovebirds but I hadn’t gone much beyond that.

Tonight when I should have been thinking about sleep (hahahaha) I opted to reread it. I got to the end, wrote a little more, and did some formatting. I didn’t think I’d much more than that. These characters have not pushed me at all. But I’ve given myself a setting where I have approximately seven weeks in which my two characters have to go from being a bit adversarial to in love as well as resolving something in her past (not sure what yet though I have ideas brewing) about the holiday season.

I wrote. I figured an hour and I’d see how awful it was. Well after doing age calculations, research on storage units, depression glass, antique glassware, and a few other things, I now have 2947 words written and I think I know the path I’m headed with this story.

My hope is I’ll stay inspired and finish the story in the next couple days so I can at least do an edit on it by the first.

Meanwhile I have a story in an anthology out on Wednesday and a short story which comes out September 4. I’m also prepping my October books’ files and getting started on my November release tasks.

I know I do this to myself. I should spread out my releases further. I guess with two of the remaining ones, I could spread them out a bit but they’re done… The reality is – they’re done so I want them out.

Each one of these releases I’m working on building marketing tools, publishing tools, and a skillset that will hopefully lead to me having higher sales. Will it work? No idea. But I’m trying this way for this round of things to be published. I’ll analyze how well it works as I go.

Writing Vacation Day 4

Today has been a day of interruptions, family time, and annoyances. It seemed like from waking up, I wasn’t able to write because I had things like pay bills, answer calls, and so on. It’s been busy with promoting an anthology – fingers crossed it makes the USA Today best sellers list. Trying to write.

My writing today was sporadic. There are times when I open my computer and the words flow so easily it’s like water out of a faucet. Then there are days like today. Every time I got going, I either got interrupted or distracted.

So in spits and spurts today, I worked on my dark romance… not sure it’s dark anymore. Tonight, I finished the first draft. It was supposed to be 10-12K. It was supposed to be dark. I’m laughing hysterically because my muse never follows the rules. Not ever. She’s a naughty tease. Dark, I don’t consider the story dark, though it is more dark than I normally write. Word count…. so before I started these days, I wasn’t sure I would even finish this story. But the characters grabbed me and made me. But instead of a nice and easy short story of 10K, I’ve got a nearly 29K novella. I wrote 5400 words (roughly) today.

I like it. I think. Whenever I finish a project, I either love or hate it. This one is outside my normal so I’m not sure how I feel about it. It will go off to the beta readers so they can tell me yeah or nay. I may reread it once first.

Tomorrow is a busy day and I think my people will be out of my house. I might have to put my phone on do not disturb and see if I can start the next short story I want to finish. I’ll have to see if these characters are out of my head and if the start I have on it inspires me to write more. It’s very different from the one I just finished.

Writing Vacation Day 3

This morning I was woken up earlier than I wanted to be awake. I’m not a happy morning person. It’s the worst part of the day. However, I couldn’t go back to sleep. I got up and started promoting, answering messages, and so on.

For a time I tried to go back to sleep but that was a no go. I started writing again. I’m sort of laughing at myself because this short story has moved from short story to novella. I’m at 25K total and still not done. I started writing with a concept and as an attempt to write a dark romance. I don’t know how successful I’ve been at dark romance but the story has taken on a life of its own.

I’m on what I think will be the last chapter – not swearing to it. But for the last thirty minutes have been fumbling. I know what comes next but my brain is saying – nope. Probably because I’ve been writing most of the day.

This story was supposed to be 15K. I’m so far beyond that, I’ll end up self-publishing this. I know the steps I have yet to go through and think it will be one chapter. But I never know until I’m done. For all I know this may stretch into an actual novel. Today I wrote 9600 words. A really really good day. I’m not sure how many words this is total but I’m pleased with my progress during this vacation.

Tomorrow I have one takeover. Aside from that, I’m hoping to get this one done and move to the next. I’ll be interested to hear what my people think of my story.

Writing Vacation Day 2

At 3:30 am I gave up on finishing my story. I thought – finish this escaping scene and then one more and I’ll be done. Easy breezy. Right? Nope. Can’t be that simple. I finished the scene and wrote more.

I was woken up at 8:30. A dangerous thing to do when I planned to sleep much longer than that. But I got up slowly. My goal today – finish the story. I worked with MANY interruptions. Some were fun, like when Bash jumped on my footstool of my recliner and stared at me until I set aside my computer. Then we cuddled. He got pets and pets. I got snuggles. Some were annoying, like the discussion on how much we should spend on a sink. Do we buy cheap and not what we want or do we spend more to get what we want?

I talked to my niece, my sister, my daughter today. I remembered a day job task which I meant to do before I went on vacation and time ran out before I could figure it out. I worked on budget – never fun. I working on promoting two books – one out on the 10th and the other out on the 25th. I handled messages from a range of people.

Then people went to bed. Classical music played and I wrote. I got 6800 words written today. I’m a bit disappointed by it. I also am cursing the muse who is messing with me. I had a plan. I got to that point and the characters said – what? That’s how you think we end? Nope. Come along we’re taking you on a ride.

Now I’m at 15,480 for words. I was only supposed to have 12K. Ooopppss. The main five characters – Zulma and her reverse harem Drake, Claud, Parker, and Stuart were supposed to ultimately ride off into the proverbial sunset and all would be well. They refused. Bastards. Instead they said – well what about the others? What about the rest of the cannon fodder imprisoned on the planet? Why can’t we save them? My brain said – nope too complicated. I’m too close to my word count. I just need to finish…

Yeah and then the characters said. Word count? Meh! We don’t care. Here’s what we’re doing… Not surprising, I like what the bastards want to do and think it fills the plot out nicely with a lovely little surprise at the end which I hope no one sees coming. I’d tell you but then the characters would kill me.

For now, still not done. I’m hoping for quiet tomorrow morning and better quality writing time. I hope to finish by noon but I’ll see how the day goes. It’s a little after 2 am so earlier than last night. I’m off to bed with the hope of kitten snuggles as Bash Bear has graced me with his presence. I’m also hoping for sixish hours of sleep… not holding my breath.

Writing Vacation Day 1

I’ve got the next three days off from my day job. With my release schedule, I’ve got a ton to get done but for the next three days, I promised myself some good writing. So I have two short stories started. I struggled on the first one and haven’t had time for the second. Today at the end of my day job, I took a nap. I know lazy but I just wanted a nap.

After my people went to bed and I did a takeover, I started to write. At first it felt super forced. Like I don’t really know what the characters wanted. And then suddenly, well they took over. I don’t know what time I started writing and it was interspersed with other things. I had two takeovers today which means I’m watching posts and comments.

With my people in bed, I got down to writing. Now it’s nearly 3 am and I’ve gotten 5426 words written! The short story I’m working on needs one plus a little more in the current scene. I was trying to finish it off but I’m struggling to keep my eyes open.

I think this one will get a finish tomorrow. Then I’ll start on the other one which I hope will have a better flow. If I manage to get both of these short stories written, I have about two dozen (or more) starts to books. My hope is to make headway on at least one of them.

Aside from writing, I have a long long list of writing tasks like promoting, editing, and uploading new files for some books. I’m not going crazy on this – I always expect too much of myself and then I’m disappointed with how much I get done.

This week, I’m hoping for better results, writing and then whatever of the rest I can get done.

4 steps to publishing a book

If you’ve published – stop laughing…

If you’ve not published, don’t believe the headline. It’s a joke.

This year I’ve had a ton of projects and opportunities. It’s been wonderful for me to stretch my writer muscles and try different things like writing in an anthology, being part of a project I’m not allowed to talk about yet, and trying new things with my writing. The upside is the writing is exciting and the downside is I rarely know whether I’m coming or going.

In fact, my craziness with scheduling got so bad (home remodel, writing, etc) that I actually completely missed an event I’d signed up for. I was really excited about it and then the shit hit the fan.

I’ve been saying all year, I have too much to do and not enough time. I need to get organized. I don’t know why I kept telling others. The reality is I needed to get MYSELF organized.

One of the things I wanted was a clearer picture of my workload. I’ve been dabbling with Asana (highly recommend this for getting organized, I’m finding it useful) and took the bull by the horns and started putting my client work and writing work on the calendar. Then I open it every day and see my list of things.

One thing I realized – four big things in a day is too many. Four medium things in a day is possible. Four small things means I’m looking at the next day’s tasks to get ahead – I like this.

Clearly I have the tools I need, now what? Well now what? Oh yeah. I have four books to launch this year – in addition to what I’ve already launched – and no idea if I have time to do them. Two are set up as pre-orders so I need to get busy with those. This lead to a what do I actually need to do. Well here’s my four steps (I’m not totally full of shit)

  1. Completed rough draft
  2. Editing
  3. Book launch
  4. Marketing

Now anyone who knows writing is laughing their asses off now because they know each of these steps have mini-steps (substeps? subcategories?). I created my sections and started typing to create a list.

Under Completed rough draft, the biggest step is send it to beta readers. What if you don’t have any? Find them. Beg, borrow, or steal them. Good ones will help you make your book so much better. For instance, I finished a book this week (YEAH ME) and I did a read through. It was good. It had holes and gaps, things got dropped, but I said – nope the readers will get things get dropped.

I know better. Readers expect you to tell them a full and complete story. It’s got to have a beginning, middle and end. If it’s a romance, there has to be some sort of happy ever after (or happy for now). So I sent it to my beta readers. These are all awesome women – I sent a note which said – please please please get back to me ASAP because I have a tight timeframe on this one. One of my readers read it and within a day or two gave me a critique I read and said. Yup. You’re right on all points. Another beta reader got back to me with more things and a third one gave me even more feedback. Thank you to all these amazing women!!!

Surprisingly, all three of them had different things to say. So this of course sent me back to the story to bully some more information out of my characters. I ended up writing another 7,000 words.

In addition to finishing the manuscript, I contacted my cover designer. She already has the specs but I made sure she would have time for me. Yes, I have an appointment later this month.

Now the book is done, I have to write the blurb and start thinking about keywords. Oh my… There’s one of our categories and it had like four steps.

Under editing, my list is even longer. Read through, spell checks, search for my overused words, and so on. The list is long and complicated. This doesn’t happen in a night by any means.

Under book launch eight steps including things like set up pre-order, searching for quotes from the book, ordering graphics (we all know mine suck) and a bunch of other things.

Under marketing, well for now, I have another dozen steps like setting up a launch party, organizing a giveaway and more.

When I was done making this list so I could be more organized, I had almost thirty items on my list. I’m positive I’ve forgotten steps I need to do but I’ll add them in as I need to – and remember them.

The other problem is figuring out how much time to schedule between the tasks. If I set up my preorder and I miss the date, Amazon will prevent me from doing any more pre-orders for a year. You can move up the date but you cannot be late.

So I’ve finished a book – yeah! I now have like thirty balls to get the timing just right as I juggle all the steps. Oh and if you’re self published don’t forget you’re juggling the book balls along with life, family, and probably a day job. (No wonder my arms are tired, I’ve probably got like a hundred balls bouncing around.)

So when you see a title of 4 steps to publishing – they are LYING to you. The thing is if you say it’s 29 steps or 40 steps or however many you use, you are going to blow the mind of the author asking.

First Draft – DONE!!!!!!!

Its done!!! 59,017 words and the first draft is done!!! Now I send it off to my beta readers and see what they think.

Thank goodness for my daughter who nagged and pushed me. Thank goodness for my characters who I thought were off the rails but who came through in the end!

Now I send it off to the beta readers and I don’t touch it for at least three days (longer if I can stay away) and I work on something else. I’ve got two good hours of writing tonight.

Once I’ve let it sit for three days, I’ll read through it, do a spell check, and then start the editing process. Hopefully my beta readers get back to me ASAP so I can make any adjustments they spot. Then I do another edit, spell check, and adjust. I’m pretty sure I have question marks for names in one place. I should fix that. And that’s done while I think about it. Minor characters sometimes get that if I’m in the flow when I’m writing. I go back and figure out a name. When I wrote later, I came up with one name so the other was easy enough to fill in.

YEAH! This comes off my to do list. All my client work is caught up so more writing for me tonight.

Good Day… Good Words

There are days when you’re writing that it flows with such ease you cannot get the words on the page fast enough. These are golden days meant to be maximized. The more of these you have the more likely you are to finish things – at least that’s the theory.

Today was one of those days. One scene flowed into the next and the next. The first sex scene I wrote – needs work – it’s too fast. It’s a little awkward but I’m okay with that part. First time sex with a new partner is often a little awkward. But the timing isn’t quite right. I’ll fix it in editing I think. Unless I mull it over and go back to it.

Today I got more alone time to write. I wrote two plus chapters which is fantastic. It’s coming together better but I still don’t have my climax (in my sex scene I do) and I’m not sure if the plot is going the way I expected it too. I’m laughing at that. I know better than to plan things – the characters are totally in control and these are determined.

As I usually do, I reread part of the manuscript I’d previously written. This gives me perspective and gets me back into the world. I made some adjustments and found some errors which I fixed.

My progress has put me in a good place. I’ve written nearly 9900 words and total count I’m at 45K. This means I’m easily going to hit the mark. I just have to see where the characters take me.

Inching Closer

My writing time has been infringed upon. We’ve hit some bumps in the renovations we’re doing so much discussion has been needed and this has pushed into my writing time. By the time we’re done discussing, I’m so tired, I’ve not been able to write much.

Tonight I put my foot down and kicked people out. In a little over two hours of writing, I’ve made progress. The first love scene is coming up and then from there, I’ll start adding a hint of danger and throw in a few conflicts and bumps (and probably another love scene).

I’m edging towards the finish line. The funny thing – the scenes I thought were absolutely going to make it in are probably not going to. This is why I don’t plot out my books – the characters take me on their journey.

Tonight that journey included about 2500 words pushing me up over 35K. I’m to the back half of the book. Hopefully by the weekend, I am done with the rough draft. Fingers crossed…. I won’t know until the characters tell me their story…